The Clear Cut Connects Couples to Bespoke Engagement Rings
The Clear Cut, a direct-to-consumer fine jewelry company specializing in bespoke engagement rings, has launched new technology that connects each customer to one of the Gemological Institute of America’s diamond experts. The technology, called GEM by The Clear Cut, allows the bride to have a more personal and intimate shopping experience when purchasing a bespoke engagement ring and other wedding jewelry.
The company, whose goal is to create an improved and simplified shopping experience for everyone, reduced the time it takes to convert customers by 40% and reduced the number of days between receiving diamond options and initial payment from an average of 13 days to 8 days, so the brand closes sales much faster.
GEM makes it easy and quick for customers to access a variety of diamonds selected based on their budget and preferences, speak to a gemologist, leave reviews and comments, and ultimately find the diamond engagement ring. perfect, all from the comfort of their own home.
Clear Cut has an interesting history. Cue the romantic meter and turn it up. Olivia Landau, founder and CEO of Clear Cut in 2013 met her husband and business partner, Kyle Simon, at the Gemological Institute of America in New York.
“I come from a long line of diamond cutters and dealers on my dad’s side of the family, and my dad and mom have their own antique jewelry business, so I kind of grew up around the industry,” Landau said. “I never thought I would go into it myself, but I decided after college to enroll and become a licensed gemologist. I really fell in love with diamonds and gemstones. I also had the chance to meet Kyle there.
“I have a very different background,” Simon said. “I am not a fourth generation diamond expert. When I graduated from university, I went to West Africa to Sierra Leone and worked in politics. From there, an opportunity arose to start a fair trade diamond mining business.
“I didn’t know much about diamonds back then, so my investors sent me to study at the GIA, where I met Olivia,” said Simon, who has an altruistic side. “I then returned to Africa and worked on a business around the Ebola outbreak, which devastated Sierra Leone. After that, I returned to New York and went to Columbia for my Masters.
After completing his training at the GIA, Landau followed a fairly traditional employment path, working at Tiffany & Co.
Meanwhile, at Columbia in business school, many of Simon’s friends were at the age where they wanted to get engaged and knew he had a background in diamonds. “Everybody was always going up to him and saying, ‘Do you know a guy who can get me a good deal on a ring,'” Landau said. “I happened to be that guy.”
Landau helped educate Kyle’s classmates about all things diamond, helping them select stones and create custom rings. It was just a side hustle until she had an epiphany: “I realized most people don’t know anything about buying a diamond. This led me to start The Clear Cut as an educational blog for our friends. I started posting creations on Instagram and that’s when it really took off. People asked me if I could design their rings and it turned into this accidental endeavor that wasn’t intentional.
When Simon graduated from School B, he realized that Landau’s side business had potential and that there had to be a white space in the market if people asked Landau to create engagement rings. The couple – who weren’t yet married – applied to TechStars, a New York-based acceleration program, and were accepted in January 2018. That’s when they quit their jobs as day and began devoting all of their time to The Clear Cut.
“We launched our mission to be [our] generation jeweler for life,” Landau said. “We entered 2020 with a lot of momentum. We were known for selling engagement rings on social media and wanted a systematic and scalable way to work with today’s customers, whose preferred mode of purchase was remote, even before the Covid-19 pandemic. 19.
“We had a really good idea of how we wanted to build the process because it didn’t exist anywhere,” Simon said. “So just before the pandemic, we decided to start building our GEM software, which was a customer-centric platform and an enhanced experience for our bespoke customers. We also built back-end tools that would help us scale our production and inventory management. »
The sales volume of the site is not negligible. “Since 2018, we’ve more or less doubled our revenue every year,” Simon said. “We sell seven figures of diamonds a month, so tens of millions of diamonds over the past two years.”
Landau and Simon wed in June 2019. “We started the business as boyfriend and girlfriend,” she said. “We got engaged and married through the process. We were selling engagement rings before we got engaged ourselves.
So what kind of ring does Landau have? “I was very lucky because my parents were in the industry,” she said. “When I was eight, I saw this Art Deco ring my mom had in her inventory. I told her to keep it for me because I loved it so much, and she said, ‘No, I I’m not going to do that. Your husband has to choose your ring.
“She kept it for me, so when Kyle asked my parents for permission, she gave it to him,” Landau said. “It was very sentimental and a huge surprise because I didn’t expect it.” The 1920s ring consists of an Asher cut diamond with a baguette. “The center stone weighs around 3.25 carats, but it has a setting. I don’t know how many carats the bagettes are. When told it might be bigger than the ring Megan Fox recently received from her fiancé, Landau said, “It’s got two stones, so it’s a pretty big look.”
The online launch was prescient in hindsight. “In 2020 obviously Covid hit and all of a sudden every jewelry store in America was shut down,” Simon said. “We really had to work harder for this remote process and the investment in technology has really paid off. We continued to roll out additional features and ways to make it a higher experience.
“Before the pandemic, if you wanted to buy an engagement ring, you had several options,” Simon added. “You can buy from an online marketplace with hundreds of thousands of options and zero customer service, or you can go to an overpriced retail store that doesn’t offer the best value, but at least you would have an elevated experience. A third option was a family-owned jeweler. We were trying to bring that intimate high jewelry experience through technology to everyone, regardless of where they lived and their price point.
Clear Cut’s process includes a number of steps, beginning with a telephone consultation with a GIA certified gemologist, who assesses clients’ preferences. The Clear Cut creates a personalized GEM portal, which contains all the information from the gemologist’s conversation as well as up to five loose diamonds. Customers choose their diamond through the portal. If they don’t see it among the curation, there are further discussions. “We want to get more and more precise until we get to the perfect,” Landau said.
After customers pay a one-third deposit, the design and creation of the ring begins. Each ring is made in New York with non-conflicting diamonds. It usually takes about three to four weeks to create the ring. Upon completion, customers receive a final video through the portal, pay the final balance, and schedule shipment. They can also upload their insurance assessment to the portal.
“On the back-end of the GEM Portal is inventory management and an integration for dynamic loose diamond pricing. “If prices go up in the market, that will automatically generate,” Simon said, adding, “a lot of people we deal with are pretty old school and still do things with pen and paper, so we have had to build the whole system to manage our manufacturing.Each piece generates a QR code that [liaises] with our suppliers, so that we know exactly where the ring is in the production process. We also have a quality checklist to ensure there are no bottlenecks in production. »
“We connect our fine jewelry collection to the GEM portal so customers can not only create custom rings, but also purchase wedding bands, which are made to order,” Landau said. “Basically what we want to do is democratize the private jewelry experience that doesn’t really exist today and connect with people around the world with super high level customer service.”